by Alexandra Richmond - 69 Reviews - 27 List
Austin is generally lauded as an adult playland, with many of its classic landmarks clearly designated as for adults only. Fortunately for the twee, not-yet-of-age set, there is lots to do, too. And many of the spots that bar the young from entering will flip their script from time to time, allowing the youth of today to run wild - with appropriate supervision, of course. Below find a selection of some of the finest eateries to be young (not just feel young) in A-town.
Updated: June 11, 2010
This pizza shop features a buffet for budget-conscious noshers, and a fantastic game room for the young and the young-at-heart. The room is crammed with vintage arcade games, and is far off enough from the dining room to muffle the sweet sounds of fun reaching the ears of any grumps who don't get it.
On every other day, for every other show, the under-aged set are persona non grata here. Not so on Baby Day (Tuesdays), during which grateful parents can bring their brood to first-run, cool movies, or to family-friendly fare, usually with a seasonal bent. Baby day is a parent's dream, and has most likely launched the next generation of Austin's filmmakers, critics, and buffs. Film appreciation couldn't start any earlier unless it were in utero.
The sedate, suburban feel of this location of the Tex-mex institution somehow feels more family-friendly than its other locations, though the policy is the same throughout. Little ones are given crayons and coloring place mats the moment they are seated, and tasty frozen push-pops come at the end of the meal. The lush, lovely patio and outdoor seating area (well out of view of MoPac) are just an added benefit, allowing friskier ones to run around and burn off energy as adults sit in the bar inside, away from the fray.
This epic market also hosts a killer cafe that slings all kinds of tasty meals, including brunch. Given the cacophony of a grocery store can be less than atmospheric, the cafe is tucked off the floor and has a sunny view of...the parking lot. Still, for tasty, fresh food and a meal out will promote healthy eating, incorporate veggies, and will produce zero cocked eyebrows at the debris on (or under) one's table, this is a great choice for parents.
From sweet teriyaki brown rice veggie bowls to indulgent ginger pudding, kids won't realize they're prepping their appetites for a future of respectable eating habits. This health and fitness-conscious eatery is always noisy but yes, zen-like (perfect for the fidgety little ones). And best of all? Kids eat free (with the purchase of an adult entree) on weekends.